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Paul Lieberstein (born February 22, 1967) is an American actor, screenwriter, and television producer. A Primetime Emmy Award winner, he is best known as writer, as producer, and as supporting cast member Toby Flenderson on the NBC sitcom The Office. He served as the series' showrunner from seasons five to eight.

Paul Lieberstein
Lieberstein in 2008
Lieberstein in 2008
Born (1967-02-22) February 22, 1967 (age 52)
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
OccupationScreenwriter, television producer, actor
Alma materHamilton College (BA)
GenreSituation comedy
Years active1998-present
Janine Serafin Poreba (m. 2008)
RelativesWarren Lieberstein (brother)
Greg Daniels (brother-in-law)

Early lifeEdit

Lieberstein grew up in Westport, Connecticut,[1][2] the son of Judith and Stanley Lieberstein.[3] He is Jewish.[4]

He attended Staples High School where he wrote his first sitcom with some friends and played the vibraphone in band.[1] He would follow that by attending Hamilton College where he joined Chi Psi and graduated in 1989[5] with a major in economics[5] (he "wanted to be a financier of some kind").[2] Lieberstein wrote references to the fact that Office character Andy Bernard was a Chi Psi from Cornell into the storyline of several episodes of the show.

Lieberstein moved to New York City after graduation where his first job was as an auditor at Peat Marwick International, a job that only lasted six months.[1][5] He followed that with part-time work in his father's law firm, "working as little as [he] could so [he] could write."[5]


Lieberstein and a writing partner got an agent with William Morris and moved to Los Angeles, living just off Hollywood Blvd.[1] He landed his first writing job on Clarissa Explains It All but was fired after one season when he and his writing partner split up.[1]

Lieberstein went on to have short stints in a few other writer rooms like Weird Science and The Naked Truth before his brother-in-law Greg Daniels asked him to join the King of the Hill staff.[1]

Lieberstein served as a co-executive producer for 25 episodes in Season 6 of The Drew Carey Show, and also served as a supervising producer for two episodes in that season: the season opening "Drew Pops Something on Kate" (which he also wrote, along with "Drew and the Motorcycle" and "Drew and the Activist, Part I"), and "Buzzie Wuzzie Liked His Beer."

Lieberstein also worked as producer on the third and final season of the television drama series The Newsroom.[6] In November 2017, it was announced that Lieberstein was replacing Kevin Etten as showrunner of the television show Ghosted.[7]

He wrote and directed his first feature film Song of Back and Neck in 2018 which made it into Tribeca Film Festival.[1]

The OfficeEdit

On June 12, 2008, Variety magazine reported that he would become one of the executive producers of The Office.[8]

Lieberstein worked in the writer's room from the start of the US adaptation and was asked by Greg Daniels to act as well, as Greg wanted some of the writers to know what it was like on the other side of the camera.[1] Lieberstein has said he "attended 'The Office' acting school" and was often thrown by Steve Carell's improv during scenes.[1]

On March 22, 2012, it was announced that Lieberstein would step down from his showrunner role to focus on a planned spin-off series featuring Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, which was tentatively called The Farm[9] and Lieberstein was set to be the showrunner.[10] However, in October 2012, it was announced that NBC was not accepting the spin-off series.[11]

In a SuicideGirls interview, Lieberstein noted that "as an actor, which is just a very small percentage of me, I don’t feel Toby while I’m writing. It’s the hardest of the characters to access."[2] In an interview for his alma mater, Hamilton College, Lieberstein commented on the bigger picture:[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Lieberstein's sister Susanne is the current president of programming for YouTube Premium (previously holding this position at MTV), and she is married to screenwriter and producer Greg Daniels.[2] His brother, Warren Lieberstein, was married to his co-star Angela Kinsey. His cousin is Paul Faust, on whom the character "Cool Guy Paul" was based, as seen in The Office episode "Chair Model."

Lieberstein was married for a second time, to Janine Serafin Poreba, on July 19, 2008, at the New York City restaurant Battery Gardens.[3] They reside in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

Lieberstein has served on the advisory board of directors for Young Storytellers, an arts education nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles.[12]


Lieberstein's first Emmy Award was as a producer, sharing a 1999 Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less)" for his work in King of the Hill.

Lieberstein's work on The Office has resulted in numerous awards. In June 2007, Lieberstein shared in a Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Broadband Program – Comedy", for his work on The Office: Accountants webisodes.[13] As an actor, Lieberstein shared in a 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series"; as a writer, he shared a 2006 Writers Guild of America Award for the series, in addition to a WGA Award nomination for "The Coup". As co-executive producer, he shared a 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Comedy Series".

Lieberstein received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from Hamilton College on May 22, 2011.[14]




King of the HillEdit

  1. "Luanne's Saga" (February 16, 1997) – Season 1
  2. "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying" (September 21, 1997) – Season 2
  3. "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" (December 21, 1997) – Season 2
  4. "I Remember Mono" (February 8, 1998) – Season 2
  5. "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" (December 15, 1998) – Season 3
  6. "De-Kahnstructing Henry" (February 2, 1999) – Season 3
  7. "Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall" (September 26, 1999) – Season 4
  8. "Not in My Back-hoe" (November 28, 1999) – Season 4
  9. "Bill of Sales" (March 12, 2000) – Season 4
  10. "I Don't Want to Wait for Our Lives to Be Over..." (November 12, 2000) – Season 5
  11. "Spin the Choice" (November 19, 2000) – Season 5

The OfficeEdit

  1. "Health Care" (April 5, 2005) – Season 1
  2. "The Client" (November 8, 2005) – Season 2
  3. "The Carpet" (January 26, 2006) – Season 2
  4. "Dwight's Speech" (March 2, 2006) – Season 2
  5. "The Coup" (October 5, 2006) – Season 3
  6. "Cocktails" (February 22, 2007) – Season 3
  7. "The Job" along with Michael Schur (May 17, 2007) – Season 3
  8. "Money" (October 18, 2007) – Season 4
  9. "Goodbye, Toby" along with Jennifer Celotta (May 15, 2008) – Season 4
  10. "Stress Relief" (February 1, 2009) – Season 5
  11. "Company Picnic" along with Jennifer Celotta (May 14, 2009) – Season 5
  12. "Gossip" (September 17, 2009) – Season 6
  13. "Sex Ed" (October 14, 2010) – Season 7
  14. "Search Committee" (May 19, 2011) - Season 7
  15. "The Incentive" (September 29, 2011) - Season 8
  16. "The Farm" (March 14, 2013) - Season 9


The OfficeEdit

  1. "Money" (October 18, 2007) – Season 4
  2. "Two Weeks" (March 26, 2009) – Season 5
  3. "Gossip" (September 17, 2009) – Season 6
  4. "Whistleblower" (May 20, 2010) – Season 6
  5. "Sex Ed" (October 14, 2010) – Season 7
  6. "Training Day" (April 14, 2011) – Season 7
  7. "The Farm" (March 14, 2013) - Season 9

The NewsroomEdit

  1. "Oh Shenandoah" (December 7, 2014) – Season 3


  1. "The Wire" (June 10, 2018) - Season 1


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "BA #227: Paul Lieberstein". the Box Angeles podcast. May 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d 2006 interview with Paul Lieberstein by Daniel Robert Epstein, at the SuicideGirls website
  3. ^ a b New York Times New York Times Wedding Announcement
  4. ^ "The Top Ten Jews On Television - Jewcy". 13 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e Roll Credits Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, a profile of Lieberstein from the Hamilton College website
  6. ^ Rose, Lacey (January 13, 2014). "Aaron Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Renewed for Third and Final Season". Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (29 November 2017). "'Ghosted' Gets 6 More Episodes From Fox, Taps Paul Lieberstein As New Showrunner". Deadline. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  8. ^ Aziz Ansari hired for 'Office' spinoff, a June 12, 2008 article from Variety magazine
  9. ^ Poniewozik, James. "Back to the Land: NBC's The Farm Spinoff Failed, But Networks Shouldn't Abandon the Country". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  10. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (March 22, 2012). "Producer's Exit Adds to Uncertainty at 'The Office'". Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  11. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (October 30, 2012). "NBC Is Not Moving Ahead With 'Office' Spinoff 'The Farm'".
  12. ^ "Our Team - Young Storytellers". Young Storytellers. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  13. ^ 34th Annual Creative Arts & Entertainment Emmy Awards Archived 2007-12-09 at the Wayback Machine, from the Emmy Awards website
  14. ^[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit